Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Tuesday that mining firms behind the destabilization campaign against President Rodrigo Duterte were “getting desperate” and should instead refocus their energies and resources on complying with the environmental laws governing their industry.
According to Pimentel, “the President has once again shown that he will not hesitate to clash with powerful interests to right what he believes are grievous wrongs.”
“My advice to those who want to derail the President’s efforts to protect the environment, as well as his other advocacies, is this: instead of attacking the President, use your resources to comply with the law.”
In a press conference in Malacañang last Monday, the President had harsh words for the mining industry, and said that mining interests were funding a campaign to destabilize the Administration.
“Kayong mga mining (Miners), I know you are funding the opposite side. I know that some of you are funding the other side to destabilize [my administration],” said the President, who also decried the damage to the environment as a result of irresponsible mining.
The President showed images of showing the destructive effects of mining and asked the mining industry, referring to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez, “how can you argue with Lopez when she’s presenting you with a visual case?”
Pimentel said that as a fellow Mindanaoan, he has seen the damage that irresponsible mining can cause, and shared the President’s passion for the environment.
“Congress has passed environmental laws that regulate industries like mining so that they do not destroy the environment in the course of extracting our mineral resources,” said the legislator.
“However, the problem has always been enforcement. For the first time, we have a President who is serious about holding the mining industry accountable, and mining firms should take this as a cue to clean up their act and ensure that they strictly follow the standards set by our environmental laws.”